The Project Leader of the Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated Cassava Seed System project, Phase 2 (BASICS-II), Prof Lateef Sanni has called on the industrial sector to invest in the seed industry to guarantee their sources of raw materials.

While speaking at the 44th annual conference of the Nigerian Institute of Food and Science Technology (NIFST) held recently, Prof Sanni faulted the practice where some industries invest a lot of financial resources to set up factories but pay little or no attention to the sources of their raw materials.

He urged industries and other institutions to invest and own Early Generation Seed companies and become Commercial Seed Entrepreneurs. According to him, there is enormous market opportunities that could be leveraged in the seeds sector.

In his presentation titled “Sustainable Quality Seeds for Cassava Production and Processing for Export”, Prof Sanni assured the participants at the conference that BASICS-II project was available to collaborate with them by providing necessary linkages as well as appropriate training on new and modern seed production tools and technologies.

He stated that BASICS-II project was established to provide farmers with access to affordable, quality-assured seeds of  cassava varieties in demand by local food and processor markets through the establishment of a commercially viable seed value chain operating across breeder, foundation, and commercial seed levels.

The project leader noted that BASICS-II would create a more efficient dissemination and trigger the adoption of new varieties to improve productivity, raise incomes of cassava growers and seed entrepreneurs, enhance gender equity, and contribute to inclusive agricultural transformation in Nigeria and Tanzania.

Many of the participants referred to the presentation as an eye opener and were quite enthusiastic to key into the many opportunities highlighted.One of the participants, Prof Oyewole, expressed her gratitude for what she considered a wonderful revelation.

The conference, which had presentations by dignitaries and key stakeholders in the food processing industry was chaired by Prof. Abubakar Rasheed (MFR), the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC); while Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Honorable Minister of Science and Technology was the Chief host. Paul Miyonmide Gbedebo, CEO/Group Managing Director, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, gave the keynote address.

Other dignitaries present were Prof. Moji Adeyeye, DG/CEO, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Dr Damian Ihedioha, Chief Agro Industry Officer, Agriculture and Agro Industry Department, African Development Bank (AfDB), Abidjan; and Ike Ilegbune, TechnoServe, amongst others.